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Psychologists: Internet Trolls Are Narcissistic, Psychopathic, and Sadistic

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the in-related-news-psychologists-have-had-many-pizzas-sent-to-their-house dept.

The Internet 293

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Chris Mooney reports at Slate that research conducted by Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba confirmed that people who engage in internet trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others). In the study, trolls were identified in a variety of ways. One was by simply asking survey participants what they 'enjoyed doing most' when on online comment sites, offering five options: 'debating issues that are important to you,' 'chatting with others,' 'making new friends,' 'trolling others,' and 'other.' The study recruited participants from Amazon's Mechanical Turk website and two measures of sadistic personality were administered (PDF): the Short Sadistic Impulse Scale and the Varieties of Sadistic Tendencies Scale. Only 5.6 percent of survey respondents actually specified that they enjoyed 'trolling.' By contrast, 41.3 percent of Internet users were 'non-commenters,' meaning they didn't like engaging online at all. So trolls are, as has often been suspected, a minority of online commenters, and an even smaller minority of overall Internet users. Overall, the authors found that the relationship between sadism and trolling was the strongest, and that indeed, sadists appear to troll because they find it pleasurable. 'Both trolls and sadists feel sadistic glee at the distress of others. Sadists just want to have fun ... and the Internet is their playground!' The study comes as websites are increasingly weighing steps to rein in trollish behavior but the study authors aren't sure that fix is a realistic one. 'Because the behaviors are intrinsically motivating for sadists, comment moderators will likely have a difficult time curbing trolling with punishments (e.g., banning users),' says Buckels. 'Ultimately, the allure of trolling may be too strong for sadists, who presumably have limited opportunities to express their sadistic interests in a socially-desirable manner.' Perhaps posting rights should only be unlocked if you pass a test."

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293 comments

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Happy Saturday from The Golden Girls! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255397)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

so are republicans... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255411)

what's your point?

Re:so are republicans... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255487)

It must feel comforting to you to simplify your perception of reality this way?

That or nice troll ya got me!!

Libertarians (3, Interesting)

mozumder (178398) | about 6 months ago | (#46255553)

The tea-party libertarians don't exactly refute the narcissistic, psychopathic, sadistic stereotype.

Just this week, Republican tea-party libertarian precious snowflake Senator Ted Cruz single-handedly almost caused the US to default on its debt:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/... [washingtonpost.com]

An action like that would have caused great harm to many Americans, whom he has no empathy for.

That's exactly narcissistic, psychopathic, and sadistic.

Really libertarians, if you don't want to be considered narcissistic, psychopathic, and sadistic, you'll have to behave in socialized ways that would show empathy towards your fellow citizens. That means it will cost you. You will have to pay a personal price to maintain socialization, since socialization is a personal expense.

In political structured form, we call this "taxes".

This is why we statists call you libertarians "precious snowflakes", because your narcissism, psychopathy, and sadism causes you to desocialize and make the mistaken assumption that society values you. The rest of society, the people with power over you, hardly cares about people that do not show empathy towards others, since people are territorial, and we have no interest in allowing you to live in our territory for free.

You have to pay those in power to live. Life isn't free, and it isn't about you.

Decide how you will pay us statist to allow you to live in our state.

Re:Libertarians (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255607)

You have to pay those in power to live.

You have got to be one of the most miserable human beings alive, with your persistent
obsession about "those in power" etc.

Seriously, have you considered suicide ?

In one act you can end your own suffering and make the world a better place.

Re:Libertarians (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255771)

Seriously, have you considered suicide ?

1/10

Re:Libertarians (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255879)

If you're a sociopath or pyschopath or one of those + narcissist... They're out to for themselves and they achieve that thru either party.

Conservatives satisfy their greed by buying low and selling high.

Liberals satisfy their greed by legislating laws to take money from successful people. They rally up retards who believe the government is out to fix everyone's pathetic problems they can't fix on their own - and get voted into power.

High power Dems or repubs - They're just using the party for their own means.

what is your point? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255545)

Machiavellianism
narcissism
psychopathy
sadism

Hillary is now a Democrat.

Re:so are republicans... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255643)

What the fuck did you just fucking say about me, you little bitch? I'll have you know I graduated top of my class in the Navy Seals, and I've been involved in numerous secret raids on Al-Quaeda, and I have over 300 confirmed kills. I am trained in gorilla warfare and I'm the top sniper in the entire US armed forces. You are nothing to me but just another target. I will wipe you the fuck out with precision the likes of which has never been seen before on this Earth, mark my fucking words. You think you can get away with saying that shit to me over the Internet? Think again, fucker. As we speak I am contacting my secret network of spies across the USA and your IP is being traced right now so you better prepare for the storm, maggot. The storm that wipes out the pathetic little thing you call your life. You're fucking dead, kid. I can be anywhere, anytime, and I can kill you in over seven hundred ways, and that's just with my bare hands. Not only am I extensively trained in unarmed combat, but I have access to the entire arsenal of the United States Marine Corps and I will use it to its full extent to wipe your miserable ass off the face of the continent, you little shit. If only you could have known what unholy retribution your little âoecleverâ comment was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have held your fucking tongue. But you couldn't, you didn't, and now you're paying the price, you goddamn idiot. I will shit fury all over you and you will drown in it. You're fucking dead, kiddo.

We get it. You win. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255725)

This guy just won Slashdot. Your prize is the credit for Slashdot beta.

Re:so are republicans... (1)

r1348 (2567295) | about 6 months ago | (#46255799)

+1 genius

BULLSHIT! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255413)

I hope that Rob Malda clones himself and finds the author of this article and slowly gives him PMITA for 21 hours.

Obviously there is a conspiracy that Alex Jones needs to investigate...

Third Post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255415)

Wankers will wank and trolls will get as many posts in as possible. Now how many faggots and dykes are going to mod this down?

Oh, great! now what! (4, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 6 months ago | (#46255423)

All it took was couple of regular guys to take the bait and post a couple of replies, and the trolls get another lease of life, almost like cockroaches getting one lick at the spilled grain of sugar and living for the next six months. Now the trolls get their own academic study and serious professors in horn rimmed glasses and slightly rumpled suits with food stains are going to discuss the trolls... No point in pleading "don't feed the trolls". They have just achieved immortality.

Re:Oh, great! now what! (3, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46255755)

Trolls enjoy it if you react to them. If you talk TO them.

They hate it if you talk ABOUT them while ignoring them entirely, treating them like the lab rats they should be.

Dark Tetrad (2)

arvindsg (1757328) | about 6 months ago | (#46255429)

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes

Troll of the day

What a complete waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255431)

TFA/TFS/taxpayer-funded study was.

Yeah, I enjoy kicking puppies in my spare time. Just as the study's authors predicted!

Everyone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255435)

Everyone is a mental problem ( -__-)
sigh, what's so hard to accept people without degrading them for them having more fun than you'll ever have?

It seems people having fun is slowly becoming a criminal offense... (and to that i say: GO FUCK YOUR PRETENTIOUS DOUCHY TROLL CALLING OTHERS A TROLL)

There is a way to reduce trolling... (5, Funny)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 6 months ago | (#46255445)

'Ultimately, the allure of trolling may be too strong for sadists, who presumably have limited opportunities to express their sadistic interests in a socially-desirable manner.'

All we need to do is to create opportunities for the sadists to torture people in real life, and they will leave our precious internet alone.

Re:There is a way to reduce trolling... (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 6 months ago | (#46255509)

Actually many are not sociopaths, but psychopaths meaning they would not want to do that to someone else as they would feel more remorse and somewhat empathy.

However a pure stranger with no face on an internet chatroom is an easier target. Everyone when angry or has been wronged by someone else would feel a little justice when things catch up. The same anger that builds is easy to take out elsewhere with anonymity.

Kids in inner city schools think it is funny as hell to make teachers angry and disrupt classrooms for example. WIth no role models at home, lots of anger, and no values of education it is displayed. This is why there is an education crises in this country as an example. Those with no anger in good environments would never do such things.

Re:There is a way to reduce trolling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255629)

I thought DSM V had removed the distinction between psychopaths and sociopaths.
That is of course just one organisation but an influential one.

Re:There is a way to reduce trolling... (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about 6 months ago | (#46255669)

They did. The post you are responding to is incorrect. There is no difference.

Re:There is a way to reduce trolling... (2)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about 6 months ago | (#46255859)

Dream is correct. The "PC" term for psychopaths is now "anti-social personality disorder."

Re:There is a way to reduce trolling... (1)

westlake (615356) | about 6 months ago | (#46255609)

All we need to do is to create opportunities for the sadists to torture people in real life, and they will leave our precious internet alone.

I am not convinced that the sadist sees any distinction between his life online and off. That he can control his behavior or knows any other way to behave.

Re:There is a way to reduce trolling... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46255761)

Well, ok, but how many PHB positions can you create before the economy can't carry them anymore?

Survey results != Real world (4, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | about 6 months ago | (#46255447)

Only 5.6 percent of survey respondents actually specified that they enjoyed 'trolling.' By contrast, 41.3 percent of Internet users were 'non-commenters,' meaning they didn't like engaging online at all. So trolls are, as has often been suspected, a minority of online commenters

I will contend that a majority of persistent "trolls" would not necessarily answer on a survey that they enjoy trolling.

(1) You will have trolls that claim to be 'debating issues that are important to you' ---- such as the poor speling or grammars of the postes that your are replying to.

(2) You will have trolls that claim to be just 'chatting with others' --- a lie, because they don't want to admit on a survey that they actually enjoy trolling. It's all just innocent chatter.

(3) You will have trolls that claim to be just 'making new friends' --- because they see the reponse as ironic and sarcastic, AND they being trolls -- they are going to try and troll the survey in order to skew your data.

(4) You may also have intentional or unintentional occasional trolls that truthfully DO primarily do one of the first 3 things, and they identify themselves as doing those things moreso than trolling.

(5) "Troll" is lingo --- you may have people who enjoy trolling, who have absolutely no idea what the word 'Troll' means.

Re:Survey results != Real world (4, Funny)

Teun (17872) | about 6 months ago | (#46255495)

such as the poor speling or grammars of the postes that your are replying to

Was that on purpose?

Are you on the receiving end of spelling trolls? :)

Re:Survey results != Real world (4, Interesting)

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) | about 6 months ago | (#46255507)

Good point. There is a second part of the study that addresses this issue is to some extent. [academia.edu]

A limitation of Study 1 is that we asked participants to select their favorite activity from a list of options. This necessitated a categorical index of trolling that likely underestimated the effects. Hence in Study 2, we assessed enjoyment of each commenting activity (including trolling) on separate continuous scales. To rule out the possibility that overall Internet use explains relations with trolling, we also included a question about total time spent on line for use as a control variable. Finally, to triangulate on trolling with multiple measures, we constructed a second brief index:the Global Assessment of Internet Trolling (GAIT) scale, which assessed trolling behavior, identiïcation, and enjoyment. As in Study 1, measures of the Big Five were included for comparison. Study 2 also featured data from a larger and more diverse sample, furnishing us with enough statistical power to test hypotheses about the unique contributions of the Dark Tetrad. For reasons articulated earlier,we expected sadism to dominate personality effects on trolling. Thus we predicted that the relations between sadism and trolling would remain signiïcant even when controlling for overlap with psychopathy, narcissism, and Machiavellianism.

Re:Survey results != Real world (2)

khasim (1285) | about 6 months ago | (#46255539)

(5) "Troll" is lingo --- you may have people who enjoy trolling, who have absolutely no idea what the word 'Troll' means.

As is the case with the people who wrote that survey.

They should have included examples of "trolling" to illustrate their points.

a. You post "I like X". Someone follows that with "Only pussies like X." Is that person a "troll"?

b. A new article is posted. The first comment is unrelated to the article and only contains racist/sexist/whatever comments. Is that person a "troll"?

And so forth.

I think that the term "jerkass" applies more than "troll" in those examples.

Re:Survey results != Real world (3, Funny)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 6 months ago | (#46255555)

I will contend that a majority of persistent "trolls" would not necessarily answer on a survey that they enjoy trolling.

You make a lot of great points. I would add -- internet "trolling" is often the result of an anonymous or pseudonymous environment, where you are held less accountable for your actions. It's like the people who are happy to lay on the horn in their car or aggressively tailgate someone (or slow down to "teach someone a lesson"), but they would never randomly scream at someone who was walking too slow on the street or cut in front of them on a sidewalk and start walking slowly. Anonymity changes behavior.

I'd say that anyone capable of aggressive anonymous driving behavior (which seems to be a LOT of folks, perhaps the majority of people at some point, depending on stress level) is also capable of trolling on the internet.

Those people who actually self-identify as "trolls" in such a study are probably primarily either real outliers or people who actually aren't really trolls all the time, but found it amusing to select such a non-conformist choice (see your average Slashdot poll). Thus, the data may also be skewed by people who aren't primarily trolls but have other personality traits that led them to make an unusual choice in an internet poll.

Re:Survey results != Real world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255623)

20 years trolling. This one ain't, though.

Narcissistic - I have taken the occaisional photo of myself on holiday when no one else was there to take it. I must admit.

Sadistic - I just did a lecture on whale-hunting. First-person POV, with the intention of making people angry, sick and upset in order to ram home the message about how awful that is to do to animals, especially a self-aware one with all those extra miles of pain circuits to deal with, and knowledge of what is happening to it.

Macchiavellianism - Why on Earth would I ever want to manipulate anyone? Actually, I'm poor because others are constantly able to take advantage of my good nature.

So to the psychos who came up with this .... no PhD for you, and definitely no cigar. Rule #1 in psychology tests, guys: people lie and check the boxes they think are "the good ones" to mark. People try to appear as expected, with the exception of trolls like me who will tick whatever it is that will throw a spanner in the works. Observation is the only way. "Self-reported" anything is just asking for trouble.

Re:Survey results != Real world (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255685)

Follow up to myself:

I'd bet that most trolling is people letting off steam after a hard day, or thinking about an unsolvable (by them) problem. Have you got a beef 'cause countryX did something you don't like? Can't change it? Jump on someone who disagrees with you from that country, get it off your chest that they're all wankers, start feeling better, close the lid, go home to the kids.

As they're obviously handing out free psych qualifications, I should get one for that little tidbit - at least it's somewhat believable.

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, it can't be that simple! And, of course the psyches have to find a way to slip in the current, in vogue mental probs. If this study were done ten years ago, they would have blamed Attention Deficit Disorders, and if it were 1930 they would
  have blamed it on sexual problems. Psychologists are like journalists in that respect, it seems. Always following trends in language.

Re:Survey results != Real world (3, Funny)

russotto (537200) | about 6 months ago | (#46255785)

Sadistic - I just did a lecture on whale-hunting. First-person POV, with the intention of making people angry, sick and upset in order to ram home the message about how awful that is to do to animals, especially a self-aware one with all those extra miles of pain circuits to deal with, and knowledge of what is happening to it.

A one-man show of Moby Dick is NOT a lecture on whale hunting. It is quite sadistic though.

Re:Survey results != Real world (2)

roman_mir (125474) | about 6 months ago | (#46255739)

(5) "Troll" is lingo --- you may have people who enjoy trolling, who have absolutely no idea what the word 'Troll' means.

- right, and then you have people who are ready to mark anything as troll that they don't personally agree with.

OTOH the real troll today is BETA.

Re:Survey results != Real world (1, Funny)

taustin (171655) | about 6 months ago | (#46255819)

(5) "Troll" is lingo --- you may have people who enjoy trolling, who have absolutely no idea what the word 'Troll' means.

And, generally speaking, what it really means is "someone who says something that I don't like." I wonder if this study even bothered to define the term, and if so, if it's a measurable definition.

Re:Survey results != Real world (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 6 months ago | (#46255833)

Furthermore, a lot of people are willing to troll on the internet because they feel it doesn't hurt anyone. Yeah, you make someone angry when you PK them WoW or whatever, but they need to get over that anyway. That's different than feeling pleasure because someone is suffering.

Re:Survey results != Real world (2)

radarskiy (2874255) | about 6 months ago | (#46255861)

Clearly, no one in the history of survey design has ever considered the idea of an unreliable respondent until you came along.

Sadists are misunderstood (5, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | about 6 months ago | (#46255457)

Sadists are a misunderstood and marginalized segment of society. Can you imagine growing up as a sadist? How would you tell your parents? They would say, "oh, you're just trying to be mean." They don't understand that this is how you were born. They would say, "oh, you just need to be with a girl, get married, and she will soften you more." It is unacceptable to force sadists into the narrow confines of society's expectations. It is time for sadists and trolls everywhere to come out of the closet and stand for who they are.

Re:Sadists are misunderstood (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255475)

Heh, not bad. Keep 'em coming.

Re:Sadists are misunderstood (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255479)

You must be new here.

Re:Sadists are misunderstood (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255483)

Being an asshole isn't a lifestyle choice it's deep part of who I am! Sadist's liberation baby!

Re:Sadists are misunderstood (3, Funny)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | about 6 months ago | (#46255611)

Its time to give sadists a fair crack of the whip!

Re:Sadists are misunderstood (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255787)

Shut up, faggot.

Re:Sadists are misunderstood (2, Funny)

Ardyvee (2447206) | about 6 months ago | (#46255641)

I'd give you a cookie, except I'm not sure you deserve it.

Can you please calibrate my sarcasm detector?

Re:Sadists are misunderstood (2, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | about 6 months ago | (#46255723)

Can you please calibrate my sarcasm detector?

Are you asking whether you've been trolled or not?

Another click-bait troll post (2)

oldhack (1037484) | about 6 months ago | (#46255461)

Trolling with a "story" about trolling. It's troll all the way down here.

THANKS FOR INVITING ME (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255463)

Niggers

Authenticate commentors with some physical media. (1)

mrmeval (662166) | about 6 months ago | (#46255465)

Like a letter and a phone call. They send you a self addressed stamped envelope. You send one half of the code via mail and call them with the other half.
Accounts deactivate at a regular interval and need a reactivation code gets mailed. I'm sure someone can game this but it slows them down.

Re:Authenticate commentors with some physical medi (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 6 months ago | (#46255735)

However you are unlikely to get enough commenters on a site to achieve a functioning community.

Re:Authenticate commentors with some physical medi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255813)

As opposed to this 'functioning' community?

Re:Authenticate commentors with some physical medi (3, Funny)

phantomfive (622387) | about 6 months ago | (#46255849)

Furthermore, I would suggest the only ones motivated enough to go through all that effort to post would be trolls, psychopaths and sadists.

Re:Authenticate commentors with some physical medi (1)

radarskiy (2874255) | about 6 months ago | (#46255871)

That only eliminates lazy trolls.

Those guys at Microsoft make great software (2, Funny)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 6 months ago | (#46255485)

In regards to the article I hate to say

Boy, those guys at Microsoft sure know how to make great software. The fact is no other browser at work displays content right like IE 6. It is the best browser! Infact, the W3C is implementing things IE 6 had for years like rich text controls and displaying the box model ... the RIGHT WAY!

Also I have to tell you McAffee and Norton are soo great and a real pleasure to use for the best OS in the world. Nothing makes me all in the mood when I have to see the pleasure of seeing a scan pop up during a lovely reboot but these wonderful products.

In addition, FSF are a bunch of radical socialists from the Obama administration out to destroy your freedom. Just look at GCC and how RMS's radical views on commercial software made sure these tools can never be included in another program like kdevelop or Netbeans. I actually do not write software but think I know everything and like to chat crap from other people so I can laugh at all the responses HAHAH.

This is why only BSD is the only true license etc and only vi should be used to read any licensing terms. Anyone who disagree's is an idiot, socialist, Obama voter, and needs to have lots of replies here and go waaay offtopic.

Sincerely,

Patrick Bateman.

Re:Those guys at Microsoft make great software (1)

QilessQi (2044624) | about 6 months ago | (#46255517)

Try harder. :-)

Re:Those guys at Microsoft make great software (1)

ComputersKai (3499237) | about 6 months ago | (#46255695)

This would be a masterpiece of sarcasm...

Or some kind of techno-luddite who still believes that IE 6 is "ahead"

Re:Those guys at Microsoft make great software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255721)

Treyyy,

1998 wants its sarcastic /. post back

Re:Those guys at Microsoft make great software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255763)

Herp derp.

Re:Those guys at Microsoft make great software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255869)

That personality list match with the people that are high up in the corporate ladder. So may be we should kiss up to the trolls as they might be our future bosses etc.

Yeah, grammar! (2)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 6 months ago | (#46255489)

The study comes as websites are increasingly weighing steps to rein in trollish behavior

I'm just impressed that the summary correctly spelled "to rein in."

Signed,
A Grammar Troll. :)

And in other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255491)

Duh

New Study! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255493)

Reads better this way,

Psychologists Are Narcissistic, Psychopathic, and Sadistic

People who engage in Psychology are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others). In the study, Psychologists were identified in a variety of ways. One was by simply asking survey participants what they 'enjoyed doing most' when on online comment sites, offering five options: 'debating issues that are important to you,' 'chatting with others,' 'making new friends,' 'Psychoanalyzing others,' and 'other.' The study recruited participants from Amazon's Mechanical Turk website and two measures of sadistic personality were administered (PDF): the Short Sadistic Impulse Scale and the Varieties of Sadistic Tendencies Scale. Only 5.6 percent of survey respondents actually specified that they enjoyed 'Psychology' By contrast, 41.3 percent of Internet users were 'non-commenters,' meaning they didn't like engaging online at all. So trolls are, as has often been suspected, a minority of online commenters, and an even smaller minority of overall Internet users. Overall, the authors found that the relationship between sadism and Psychology was the strongest, and that indeed, sadists appear to psychoanalyze because they find it pleasurable. 'Both Psychologists and sadists feel sadistic glee at the distress of others. Sadists just want to have fun ... and the Internet is their playground!' The study comes as websites are increasingly weighing steps to rein in Psychology behavior but the study authors aren't sure that fix is a realistic one. 'Because the behaviors are intrinsically motivating for sadists, comment moderators will likely have a difficult time curbing Psychologists with punishments (e.g., banning users),' says Buckels. 'Ultimately, the allure of Psychology may be too strong for sadists, who presumably have limited opportunities to express their sadistic interests in a socially-desirable manner.' Perhaps posting rights should only be unlocked if you pass a test."

Mechanical Turk as a survey pool? (2)

Animats (122034) | about 6 months ago | (#46255497)

I'm a bit bothered by the use of Amazon's Mechanical Turk as a source of survey participants. That's by its nature a group of people with lots of free time and few marketable skills. That's a likely place to find trolls.

Slashdot's moderation system seem to do a good job of preventing trolling. I just hope the Dice management doesn't break it, in search of higher "social engagement" or something.

Re:Mechanical Turk as a survey pool? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255569)

Not even wrong. Mechanical Turk is 99% India and Phillipines residents using VPNs. The participants lie to make money and their main skill is lying in such a manner as not to damage their MT reputation.

Anyone who's made the mistake of trying to buy work from MT knows the deal. It's nearly useless unless you're willing to put in a shitload of time and effort developing systems to screen out the liars.

Re:Mechanical Turk as a survey pool? (1)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | about 6 months ago | (#46255621)

Can I ask you what thoughts you have about the Beta?

Re:Mechanical Turk as a survey pool? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 6 months ago | (#46255741)

That's a likely place to find trolls.

So it's quite a good place to go when you want to find trolls then.

Slashdot's moderation system seem to do a good job of preventing trolling.

Hardly! It just masks the most obvious efforts at -1, where people that stuff can still see it. It doesn't prevent trolls at all.

Trolls can serve a purpose too. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 6 months ago | (#46255499)

Sometimes, some people just deserve trolling.

Re:Trolls can serve a purpose too. (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 6 months ago | (#46255599)

Yeah, I've been thinking about that sometimes. A healthy discussion kind of needs a smidge of trolling.

Psychologists don't have a medical degree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255503)

They're wannabe psychiatrists, which itself is sad because psychiatry is vestigial snake oil salesmanship and not legitimate science (DSM entries are voted on, not determined through the scientific method).

On a side note, this beta is pretty k-rad elite. I'm lovin' it!

Re:Psychologists don't have a medical degree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255577)

Psychology is most certainly a legitimate science.

It was first pioneered by William Gilbert and later refined by James Watt. Most of what we consider "modern psychology" was later developed by two great American scientists. Without the work and body of Enrico Fermi and Guglielmo Marconi we would have no foundation for todays efforts.

Re:Psychologists don't have a medical degree (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255855)

And just so you don't think it was only developed in the west, don't forget significant and independent contributions from those such as Sakurai and Landau and Liftshitz.

I'd rather (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255515)

I'd rather be out spending money but Obama took care of that. None left. No jobs. No prospects. Unemployment, then disability like the rest.

Thanks, Obama.

So now I just troll.

Re:I'd rather (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255613)

Well, it's not only roses and sunshine here in Europe either.

Well, that's like your opinion, man. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255523)

Trolling is as legitimate as any other protected speech.

Bring back dueling, problem solved.

What's with the Mechanical Turk-based "research"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255547)

Why are stories based on $5/5000 participant Mechanical Turk tasks appearing on Slashdot with regularity now?

Mechanical Turk is gamed like crazy, and the remaining participants aren't going to give careful consideration to the research material in exchange for a nickel.

How about a story on these researchers' methodology? I'd be interested in reading about that, because I'm confident it's full of holes.

Re:What's with the Mechanical Turk-based "research (2, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about 6 months ago | (#46255583)

Pretty much all these quantitative sociology studies turn out to be questionable. Between populations of convenience and these hokey numerical personality tests, the results don't inspire that much confidence.

Even though in my day job I do statistics, when it comes to social science I often find qualitative anthropology/ethnography-style research, where researchers actually get out there in communities, try to understand them, and talk to people, quite a bit more informative. Especially for preliminary understanding where it's not often even clear what a phenomenon's broad characteristics are, and therefore difficult to design an intelligent quantitative study with useful metrics.

Alas, this kind of stuff gets more citations and press, because sampling 5000 people and rating them on a 0.0 to 10.0 personality scale using a questionnaire seems superficially more scientific... 'cause it's got numbers.

Re:What's with the Mechanical Turk-based "research (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255635)

Even though I think anthropology and sociology are valuable academic disciplines I don't trust the qualitative research very much either mainly because it is not reproducible or verifiable. Two examples I can think of are Sudir Vankatesh. some bogus sociology hustler who didn't feel like going in to the ghetto and having thugs fill out questionaires instead made up a fantastic story about "gang leader for a day" which to anyone familiar with real inner city life can tell is super fake, but the bourgeois professors had no clue and no one can ever verify his wild stories since he said he changed the names to protect their identities since they were all drug dealers. Another case is with David Geraeber who went to Madagascar and did research with stateless tribes there, well what do ya know? his research results all seemed to coincide with his anti-state anarchist ideology. then if anyone goes back there to find the obscure tribes he worked with and it's not what he said he can just say "well, the introduction of technology changed them forever" so his bullshit can never be refuted. Also worth noting Vankatesh got busted embezzling funds from his research group at Columbia in recent years so you can see he has no ethics.

Re:What's with the Mechanical Turk-based "research (1)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 6 months ago | (#46255827)

Alas, this kind of stuff gets more citations and press, because sampling 5000 people and rating them on a 0.0 to 10.0 personality scale using a questionnaire seems superficially more scientific... 'cause it's got numbers.

This.

Oh, and bonus points if it has meaningless graphs with misleading axes or arbitrary bins/categories.

Is that all? (1)

MobSwatter (2884921) | about 6 months ago | (#46255549)

Bares significant resemblance to actions by NSA appointed PR brigade. So is it a problem of members of the brigade or is it a management problem? I'm leaning towards management... They forgot vile...

No shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255573)

No shit, that explains it all

It's what I always thought (1)

Alejux (2800513) | about 6 months ago | (#46255587)

For a long time I wondered what led people to leave gratuitously mean comments on Internet forums and bait people into getting into arguments for the fun of it. I always imagined that the Internet, due to it's protection of anonymity, just brought out all the negative aspects personalities (described in the article) that on regular social occasions they would never have the courage to display. The sad thing is, how big the number people like that is.

Well, derp, then... (1)

djupedal (584558) | about 6 months ago | (#46255595)

A study on trolling asked if you troll and if you said yes... Wouldn't a simple yes/no question have been easier.

In other news.. (0)

daitengu (172781) | about 6 months ago | (#46255601)

Water is wet, the earth is round and the Pope is Catholic.

Amazon Turks? (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 6 months ago | (#46255603)

I think we need to go back to the beginning with this "study" and show why anyone slaving as an Amazon Turk would be representative of the larger population (of somewhere).

Most people thinks it all about them, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255625)

Like this damn coffee shop I just came in to, Idiots blocking my way stuffing their face with cookies and cheap coffee.

Or maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255631)

it's just fun?

ask the ordinary citizen /. reader (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255647)

we cannot tell the sparsely littered forest from the junk http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=pr+firm+internet+trolls

Stupid people in in a car crash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255653)

Should just have stayed in their driveway to die, I on my way to a Movie, but my GF is laughing at them, I'm about ready to push her out,

Too cynical (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255677)

In my experience the situation does not seem to be quite so dark. I think a lot of "trollers" just want to be heard and are not actually capable of thinking clearly. So they bicker and compete. They're pleased and proud just to hold and profess an opinion. Only the nastiest are actually anti-social.

It's also worth noting that commenting in general is a cynical ploy to increase pageviews by giving people a way to imagine that they're taking part: "Go to OurTVStation.com and tell us what you think!" There's no follow-up or discussion at OurTVStation.com. It's just a dump for peoples' vain attempt to matter to others.

Posting rights only unlocked if passing test? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255705)

Perhaps posting rights should only be unlocked if you pass a test.

But who is going to make "posting" work when you force all serious programmers offline?

You need sadists not willing to overlook any off-by-one errors by their computer subs. It's run time for computers.

And? (0)

no-body (127863) | about 6 months ago | (#46255731)

Those characters: "Narcissistic, Psychopathic, and Sadistic" are on the highest positions which is a well known fact. Does this knowledge change anything or has it in past?

Sadists must love /. beta then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255751)

Never going to give you up....
Never going to let you down....

What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255759)

This sounds like most people... the rest are just tools.

Re:What's the point? (1)

folderol (1965326) | about 6 months ago | (#46255835)

I thought they were talking about politicians at first ... all of them.

I do it for the lulz (0)

xbytor (215790) | about 6 months ago | (#46255789)

I am a self-admitted troll but I do it for the lulz, never maliciously. There are different kinds of trolls and this study does not differentiate between them, unfortunately.

Management (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 6 months ago | (#46255795)

Perhaps having sadistic psychopathic narcissists trolling is the best solution to dealing with their illness. At least that way they're not torturing kittens and preening in front of mirrors while plotting to over throw the world. It might turn out that the Internet discussion forums are the best cure for this disease.

Posting Name is Significant (2)

Yahooti (3401115) | about 6 months ago | (#46255807)

You'll also note that most of them post as "Anonymous Coward". People with a name, even one without much going for it, usually at least try to be reasonable.

Trolls trolling... researchers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255841)

Is it not inconceivable that those who would self-report as trolls might just be inclined to troll the tests by giving deliberately extreme answers and responses?

Classiciations (0)

blackpaw (240313) | about 6 months ago | (#46255863)

Trouble is, way to many people classify trolls as "People who disagree with me".

This is particularly prevalent on feminist boards.

Simply name-calling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255865)

This is a hatchet job to discredit all of the hard working trolls out there written by a bully with a foredrawn conclusion! I demand a recount.

Psychology is not a science, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46255891)

can someone explain me what was the point of this article?

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